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Man charged with murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool | UK News

A man has been charged with the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel who was shot dead in her home in Liverpool.

The Crown Prosecution Service said 34-year-old Thomas Cashman has been charged with the girl’s murder and the attempted murder of her mother Cheryl.

Cashman has also been charged with the attempted murder of convicted burglar Joseph Nee and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Another man, Paul Russell, 40, has been charged with assisting an offender.

Cashman and Russell, both from West Derby in Liverpool, will appear at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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CPS announces charges over Olivia murder

The charges come nearly six weeks after Olivia was fatally shot in the chest in her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on 22 August. Her mother Cheryl was injured after being struck in the wrist by the same bullet.

The shooting happened after Nee forced his way into Olivia’s home while running away from a balaclava-clad gunman.

In a news conference on Saturday, Merseyside Police Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said “there is still very much a live investigation” into Olivia’s murder as he urged anyone with information to contact the force.

He said: “At the beginning of the investigation we were firm in our commitment to finding all of those involved in this case.

“This includes the people who have tried to shield and protect individuals and those who supplied the weapons and those who are hiding the weapons used in this attack.

“I therefore still need people to come forward and speak to us.

“We have had an overwhelming response and support from the public since the tragic murder of Olivia and I would ask for your continued support so we can keep the promise we made to Olivia’s family and the local community to ensure that those involved face justice.”

Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Olivia’s death was one of three fatal shootings within a week in Liverpool.

A £200,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for killing Olivia – the biggest reward in Crimestoppers’ history.

Her funeral took place in Liverpool last month, with many mourners wearing pink to remember the youngster.

In an emotional tribute following her death, Olivia’s mother Cheryl described her daughter as her “little shadow” who “went everywhere with me”.

“Everyone she met, they all fell in love with her,” Ms Korbel said. “She left a mark on everyone she met.”

In a statement after Olivia’s death, her father John Francis Pratt said his daughter’s future had been “cruelly snatched away from her and we have been deprived of a real light in our lives”.

A lesson from ‘Reaganomics’: The collision of theory and reality could prove fatal for PM Liz Truss and Tory party | Politics News

In his book on the failure of Ronald Reagan’s economic revolution, the US president’s one-time guru David Stockman wrote that the only thing worse than short-termism in politics is ideological hubris in government.

The so-called “father of Reaganomics”, Stockman was a key part of an economic overhaul that has some eerie echoes of the current UK government strategy – not least tax cuts, supply-side reforms and spending cuts.

But in his 1986 post-mortem of his time in office, Stockman concludes that no such revolution was possible – in part because of politicians and their need to please voters – and he attacks “the false belief that in a capitalist democracy we can peer deep into the veil of the future and chain the ship of state to an exacting blueprint”.

One former UK cabinet minister appeared to echo this sentiment earlier this week saying that while they understood “the theory” of Liz Truss’s plan “you can do that when you’re not competing with inflation”.

This is the head-versus-heart conundrum many Conservative MPs are now wrestling with.

But alongside the controversial policies announced by Kwasi Kwarteng last Friday, Tories heading to their conference in Birmingham this weekend are now also sizing up the prospect of what one newspaper has branded a “new age of austerity”.

In a bid to reassure jittery markets, cabinet ministers are now talking of “rigorous spending discipline” and “trimming the fat” in government.

Amid double-digit inflation and expensive tax cuts, economists are dubious whether such talk will steady the situation and warn that belt-tightening will need to be similar to the early austerity years.

This poses a series of problems both fiscal and political in their nature.

Firstly, where will this fat be trimmed from?

Given previous commitments on the NHS and security, any tightening at health or defence seems unfathomable. But other departments are hardly ripe for a snip.

Is it possible to squeeze the Ministry of Justice during a giant court backlog? Can education really be sized up after two years of COVID turmoil and in a time of rising prices?

Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke has suggested some of the capital spending commitments made during Boris Johnson’s time in Number 10 could be a target.

But is it sensible to stop building stuff when the sole focus of the government is growth?

The political problems flow from all this.

Tory MPs will be the ones left on the doorstep justifying the difficult optics of tax coming down for the super-wealthy contrasted with potentially below inflation benefit rises for the poorest in society.

Worse still for middle-class Tory voters is an increase in mortgage rates wiping out any gains from tax cuts.

Then there’s the promised supply-side reform.

While some of the measures on childcare and financial services may be easy wins, others around planning and migration could be more controversial.

As Liz Truss has gone all-in on getting growth, she’ll need to push through most of these measures to give her the best chance of turning short-term pain into long-term gain.

Allies say the government has a majority big enough to make these radical reforms a reality.

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Truss acknowledges ‘some disruption’

But remember, this is a majority won in 2019 on a very different platform.

It’s a point not lost on Tory MPs worried that a prospectus of levelling up has suddenly turned into rising mortgage rates and cuts to public spending.

To return to America, David Stockman writes that it was one year into the Reagan Presidency that he realised the revolution he helped usher in was an impossibility.

“It was a metaphor with no anchor in political and economic reality… It was simply not operationally relevant in the world of democratic fact where politicians have the last and final say,” he says.

Two years from an election, a similar collision of theory with reality here could prove fatal for the Prime Minister and her party.

As Tory conference looms, the PM cuts a diminished figure after squandering much of her political capital | Politics News

Three-and-a-half weeks ago, Liz Truss was beaming as she was announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party.

She did not embrace her husband or console her defeated opponent – reaching instead for her victory speech and marching onto the stage.

The contrast as she heads to her party’s annual conference in Birmingham is stark. The prime minister already cuts a diminished figure after squandering much of her political capital – damaging her party’s reputation for economic management and demoralising many of her MPs, some of whom feel they are now facing an existential crisis.

Adam Boulton analysis: Autumn storm clouds are thickening thanks to mini-budget

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Truss acknowledges ‘some disruption’

“It was a foolish error,” says Martin Vickers, a normally loyal Conservative MP, of the government’s controversial mini-budget. “All we’ve done is supply ammunition to our political opponents.”

He added: “I’m not arguing about the direction of travel. But it was too much too soon. It has clearly spooked the markets and is causing unnecessary distress and concern to my constituents.”

“This can’t go on,” complains another frustrated MP.

“Meaning the policy or the people?” I ask.

“Both” is the reply.

The PM seems to be gradually willing to publicly accept a link between her policies and market turmoil – describing this overnight as “short-term disruption” – but there is no sign she is considering reversing any of the measures.

The government is instead expected to move ahead with significant spending cuts. Reports suggest that welfare benefits could also be affected and may only be increased in line with average earnings, not inflation.

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How might the government balance the books?

Mr Vickers is among a growing number of backbenchers happy to publicly express their exasperation and call for a change in government policy.

He will be attending the conference, but many colleagues critical of the leadership will be swerving it.

Former leadership contenders Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid are not expected to attend. The number of party members present may be diminished by rail strikes (ironic since the conference slogan is Getting Britain Moving) – and the cost of hotels in the city.

Alongside entertaining wealthy donors, meeting newspaper editors, and addressing members’ drinks receptions, Liz Truss is expected to carry out a series of national TV and radio interviews. Her bruising round of local radio interviews on Thursday morning suggests these encounters may be less than smooth.

The best opportunity to take control of the narrative, communicate directly with voters and reset her premiership remains the leader’s speech.

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Iconic party conference moments

In 2007, David Cameron delivered his 50-minute address without notes.

In 2017, Theresa May’s was almost brought to a standstill by a hacking cough, a P45 prank and a collapsing backdrop.

In 2021, a venue was constructed purely for Boris Johnson’s “Build Back Better” speech.

Mr Cameron wrote that his team would spend months “constructing the paragraphs, crafting the killer lines, choosing the ‘moments’ that would make people gasp or laugh or connect emotionally”.

Ms Truss’s team have not had the luxury of time for that level of preparation, yet the ideology driving her administration is at least settled.

Surviving a conference with her budget intact may be painful for the PM, but it seems perfectly possible.

A far more turbulent time is expected when parliament returns on 11 October, and the scale of backbench Tory opposition becomes clear.

The Great Debate promo Monday October 3
The Great Debate promo Monday October 3
Police launch murder investigation after fatal stabbing in north London | UK News

An investigation has been launched after a fatal stabbing in north London.

Metropolitan Police officers were called at about 5.30pm on Friday to a disturbance in the area of Tottenham High Road, Haringey.

Police and paramedics found a male, believed to be in his late teens, with stab injuries.

He died a short time later.

The Met said inquiries are ongoing to ensure that the victim’s family have been informed and a post-mortem examination will be arranged.

There have been no arrests.

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to call 101, ref 5327/30sep.

Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous is urged to contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting

Prince William calls for improved online safety after coroner’s ruling in Molly Russell death | UK News

Prince William has called for improved online safety for children after a coroner ruled social media contributed to the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell.

The Prince of Wales said: “No parent should ever have to endure what Ian Russell and his family have been through. They have been so incredibly brave. Online safety for our children and young people needs to be a prerequisite, not an afterthought.”

The schoolgirl from Harrow, northwest London, was found dead in her bedroom after viewing content related to suicide, depression and anxiety online.

Andrew Walker, the coroner, said he did not “think it would be safe” to give suicide as her cause of death, instead opting for self-harm.

Giving his findings on Friday, he said: “Molly was at a transition period in her young life which made certain elements of communication difficult.”

She was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness”, he told North London Coroners Court.

West Brom women’s team switch from white shorts to navy to ‘focus on performance without added anxiety’ of periods | UK News

West Bromwich Albion’s women’s team will switch to navy shorts to get rid of the anxiety of having to wear white while on their period.

They will wear the new home kit for the rest of the season and beyond after consultation with the whole squad.

Captain Hannah George praised the club for supporting the change to darker coloured shorts.

“Representing the club professionally and looking smart in the kit is really important to us,” she said.

“This change will help us to focus on our performance without added concerns or anxiety.”

Albion play in the Northern Premier division of the FA Women’s National League, the third tier of the game.

Head coach Jenny Sugarman said it was important to make any change, no matter how small, to help her players perform at their best.

“I’m proud the club have supported the decision to switch to navy shorts for our female players,” she said.

“It’s another sign of the continued integration of the women’s team across the club and recognition of a progressive and inclusive culture.”

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‘Everyone was making fun of my body’
‘My family is why Fox News was created’

The change comes after England’s Euro-winning team raised similar concerns over the colour of their own shorts.

Beth Mead said in July: “It is very nice to have an all-white kit but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month. We have discussed it as a team and we have fed that back to Nike.”

There’s also been talk about the issue with regards to Wimbledon’s strict all-white kit policy, with a small group protesting outside the club ahead of the women’s final this year.

Former Olympic tennis champion Monica Puig has also tweeted about the “mental stress” of wearing white at the tournament and “praying not to have your period during those two weeks”.

Coins featuring portrait of King Charles unveiled – as Royal Mint reveals when they will enter circulation | UK News

Coins featuring a portrait of King Charles III will gradually enter circulation from December.

The Royal Mint says his image will appear on 50p coins first – and in keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to the Queen.

A commemorative £5 coin has also been created that features two new portraits of the late monarch on the back.

Read more: Queen’s death certificate reveals how she died

The commemorative £5 coin

Nicola Howell, chief commercial officer at the Royal Mint, said King Charles worked closely with sculptor Martin Jennings – and personally approved the effigy.

This was “to make sure there was a seamless empathetic way to end her majesty’s reign and to actually signal the new reign of a new king”.

The Latin inscription surrounding the effigy reads: “:: CHARLES III :: D :: G :: REX :: F :: D :: 5 POUNDS :: 2022” which translates to: “King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith.”

The effigy could be viewed as softer and less regal than those of previous monarchs.

Chris Barker, from the Royal Mint Museum, described the portrait as “dignified and graceful, which reflects his years of service”.

He added: “I think if you look back on some of the portraits of Elizabeth – particularly her first portrait by Mary Gillick – it was much more idealised.

“This one is much more of the man himself, of the individual, you see the lines in his face, the years of experience, and that humanity coming across.”

The reverse of the commemorative £5 coin features two new portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, showing a younger and older image of the late monarch.

The design was created by artist John Bergdahl in collaboration with the Royal Mint.

It will form part of a wider memorial coin collection.

Ms Howell said: “We expect customers will start to be able to receive the commemorative range from October and then we expect the 50p memorial circulating coin to be appearing in people’s change probably from December.”

The reverse of the 50p features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown.

It was struck to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield.

In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

Read more from Sky News:
When will King Charles banknotes be released?
King Charles’s new royal monogram revealed
King Charles in pictures
The events that shaped Britain’s new King

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Timeline: From Queen’s death to funeral

All UK coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and coins featuring the new King will co-circulate alongside those of his mother.

Historically it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate, helping to minimise the environmental impact and cost.

There are around 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. They will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel: Man arrested on suspicion of murdering nine-year-old girl | UK News

A 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

Olivia was killed in Dovecot, Liverpool on 22 August after a gunman fired shots into her home at about 10pm as he chased convicted burglar Joseph Nee.

She was hit in the chest as she stood behind her mother who was injured after being struck in the wrist by the same bullet.

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “The investigation into Olivia’s murder is ongoing and we continue to appeal for people with information to come forward to assist us in bringing those responsible to justice.

“Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111.

“If you have any CCTV/dashcam/smart doorbell footage that could help our inquiries they can be downloaded on the dedicated public portal for Olivia’s murder, which will go straight through to the investigation team.”

Nine other men have been arrested so far in the investigation, but they have all been released on bail and no one has been charged.

More on Olivia Pratt-korbel

Police said on Wednesday that officers had spent 15,000 hours on the case, that there were 2,000 exhibits, and that thousands of hours of CCTV had been looked at.

The man who was chased and shot by the killer remains in hospital.

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of a Glock 9mm pistol. Investigators have identified two guns used in the shooting - a .38 revolver that killed Olivia, and a Glock 9mm pistol that has been used in three attacks in Merseyside over a two-and-a-half-year period. Issue date: Wednesday September 21, 2022.
A Glock-type self-loading 9mm pistol like this has been used in two previous incidents on Merseyside in the last two and a half years

Largest reward in Crimestoppers history

Last week it was announced a £200,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.

It is the biggest reward in Crimestoppers’ history.

The charity’s founder and chairman, Lord Ashcroft, had previously put up £50,000 but the reward was increased after a private donor offered £100,000 and the businessman matched it.

“This case has been incredibly shocking, not just for those who are directly affected, but also for Liverpool and the nation as a whole,” Lord Ashcroft said.

Detectives also searched a golf course in the weeks after her death, promising to leave “no stone unturned”.

Police carrying out searches at West Derby Golf Club in Liverpool as part of the investigation into nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel's murder. Issue date: Monday September 12, 2022.
Police carrying out searches at West Derby Golf Club

A ‘splash of pink’ for Olivia

A service was held for Olivia on 15 September, with mourners asked to wear a “splash of pink” to remember the “chatty and bubbly” little girl.

“Olivia loved to sing and dance. She’d always be singing along to songs she enjoyed, especially when we would be driving in the car and she would always be in charge of the CD player,” her mother said, giving her eulogy.

“Olivia knew exactly how to wrap people around her little finger to get what she wanted, especially her brother Ryan and sister Chloe.

“She would often give them a cheeky smile and they would give in instantly.”

“She would have made a great lawyer as she had an answer for everything.”

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Mourners wear pink at Olivia’s funeral

Ms Korbel added: “Liv touched so many people’s hearts and was loved and adored by everyone.

“She will never be forgotten. I will never say goodbye but what I will say is goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.”

Labour surges to record leads in polls as Truss insists mini-budget did not cause economic turmoil | Politics News

Labour has surged to record leads in multiple polls following the economic turmoil after the government’s mini-budget.

A YouGov/Times poll placed Labour 33 points ahead of the Conservatives, believed to be the largest lead for Labour in any recorded poll since 1998.

And a Survation poll had Labour on a 21 point lead – also the largest Labour lead the pollsters have ever recorded. Some 49% would vote for Labour while 28% for Conservatives, the survey found.

A Deltapoll/Mirror poll put Labour 19 points ahead of the Tories, with 48% of voters from Tuesday to Thursday saying they would vote for Labour and 29% for the Conservatives.

Much of the YouGov poll’s Labour lead was buoyed by 17% of people who had previously voted for Boris Johnson saying they would now vote for Labour – double that of a week ago.

And 50% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2019 would now vote for Labour, up from 27% at the start of this week.

26% of Tory voters also told YouGov they now do not know who to vote for.

Reacting to the YouGov poll, a Tory MP told Sky News: “You’re bloody joking, that’s annihilation.”

Another said they were “shell-shocked”.

Sir Keir Starmer has enjoyed a bounce following the Labour conference this week, which was generally seen as positive for the opposition leader.

His popularity has boomed even more as the markets continue to react negatively to the chancellor’s £45bn package of tax cuts revealed less than a week ago.

Even since Tuesday, four days after the mini-budget, Labour has continued to gain in the polls.

Thursday’s YouGov poll gave Labour a nine-point boost from a poll it did from last Friday to Sunday, while the Tories went down seven points.

However, in a series of interviews on Thursday – their first since the pound reached a record low on Monday – Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng doubled down as they blamed global events for the economic turmoil.

The prime minister insisted the government took “decisive action” that will aid growth and said the government had to take “urgent action” to kick-start the economy and protect consumers from rising energy costs.

During a visit to an engine plant in Darlington, the chancellor said the plan is aimed at “protecting people right across the country” and was “absolutely essential” for growth.

COVID hospital admissions in England highest since August amid new ‘autumn wave’ | UK News

A new autumn wave of coronavirus has seen the number of patients in hospital with the virus hit the highest level since August, the latest NHS data suggests.

Figures show 7,024 people were in hospital with coronavirus in England as of 8am on 28 September.

This is up 37% from 5,142 the previous week – and is the highest number seen since 19 August.

With universal free testing wound down at the beginning of this year, health officials rely mainly on hospital data and the weekly ONS infection survey to understand how COVID is spreading.

Read more:
COVID-19 pandemic changed our personalities, claims study

The latest NHS figures, which are published every Thursday, show an upward trend in hospital admissions across all regions, with the South West at the same level as it was amid the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariant wave in July.

The most recent ONS data also shows an increase in positive cases outside hospital and care home settings in England, with 766,500 people infected in the week to 14 September.

That is around one in 70 – up from one in 75 the week before.

According to the ZOE Health Study, which asks people to log their symptoms on a smartphone app, that number is higher – with an average of one in 32 people suffering symptomatic COVID across the UK this week.

Impact of hospitalisations could be higher

Its founder, Professor Tim Spector said: “It’s clear we’re now seeing an autumn wave of COVID-19, combined with increases in hospital admissions.

“With rates on the rise, especially in the vulnerable elderly age groups, the impact on hospitalisations could be higher.

“However, the youngest age group are showing possible early signs of case numbers slowing. Children tend to be a leader of infection trends, so if this continues next week it is possible that the COVID wave might not be as bad as previously predicted.”

Everyone over 65 and those in vulnerable groups are currently eligible for a ‘bivalent’ booster vaccine, which protects against the original Wuhan strain and the Omicron variant.

Eventually this will be rolled out to everyone over 50.

NHS officials have warned of a “twindemic” of flu and COVID infections this winter.

During its winter period earlier this year, Australia suffered a surge in H3N2 variant flu infections – the same one that caused around 20,000 deaths and 40,000 hospital admissions during the 2017/2018 flu season in the UK.

Flu circulated far less widely during the height of the coronavirus pandemic as people’s immune systems were heightened and vulnerable groups did not mix.